Finance

Big developer signs up to build £300m high-tech food campus


Property investment and development specialist SEGRO has signed up to build the £300 SmartParc food manufacturing campus in Derby.

The developer – which is behind the 700 acre East Midlands Gateway warehouse park near East Midlands Airport – will partner with SmartParc to build the 1.85 million sq ft, high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus on a 112-acre site near Spondon.

The former Celanese site will offer manufacturing facilities, start-up units and be home to a Food Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence. It is expected to lead to 5,000 new jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

Called SmartParc SEGRO Spondon, it will pave the way for the food industry to work together to meet the challenges of sustainable production and address the need for efficient direct routes to consumers.

SEGRO will provide a multi-million-pound investment to regenerate the brownfield site, while SmartParc will provide the onsite managed services, supporting the food community to increase productivity and cut costs and carbon emmissions.

A “revolutionary” energy sharing infrastructure will exploit wind and solar to deliver what is being called the most sustainable food production community in the country.

Derby City Council granted planning permission in June and agreed grant funding along with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

D2N2 allocated £12 million towards the project from the Government’s Getting Building Fund – the largest single allocation from its £44 million allocation.

The campus will provide food manufacturing facilities ranging from start-up incubation units through to large-scale manufacturing facilities ranging from 50,000 to 400,000 sq ft. The first units will be available early next year.

The site will also be home to a Food Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence which will work on future-proofing the food industry, offering education and career opportunities to improve local and global food supply chains.

A spokesman said: “SmartParc will provide a new sustainable blueprint for the food industry.

“Climate change has highlighted the need for far-reaching industry change and, in response, SmartParc will re-engineer current food manufacturing and distribution processes.

“It will create a new, forward-thinking ecosystem of food production, looking towards new technologies such as vertical farming to disconnect weather from our ability to produce sustainable food.”

SmartParc chief executive Jackie Wild said: “We are delighted to announce SEGRO as our development partner as we work towards our goal of building the first world-leading, sustainable, high-tech food manufacturing and distribution campus at SmartParc SEGRO Spondon.

“Our partnership with SEGRO and the continued support of D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and Derby City Council will enable us to bring jobs to the region and address the increasingly critical challenges facing food manufacturing supply chains.

“We want to thank everyone involved in realising this vision in record time. From the first walk around site in May 2020 to starting on site in September 2021- it shows what can be achieved when everyone pushes in the same direction with a shared agenda.”

“The creation of this dedicated asset class is pivotal in achieving a more sustainable future for food production and giving a framework for the food industry to build upon.

“We want to embrace Derby’s engineering heritage to ensure that SmartParc is the home of the next food revolution.

“We already have a significant level of interest from manufacturers and retailers both from the UK and overseas and we are starting work immediately so we can welcome our first ‘collaborators’ to SmartParc early next year.”

Andrew Pilsworth, managing director of national logistics at SEGRO, said: “SmartParc’s bold new concept for food manufacturing and distribution has the potential to be a true game-changer.

“Over the last 18 months we’ve seen the importance of having robust supply chains closer to home and being able to quickly and efficiently distribute goods.

“SmartParc enables both of these within the vital food and drink sector and does so while keeping sustainability at its heart. We look forward to working together to make the concept a success.”

“By backing innovative projects like this one, we are levelling up areas across the country by building stronger and more resilient local economies, which can support jobs and prosperity in our communities.”

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